Welcome to another edition of Whisky You Can Drink, wherein I drink whisky and tell you about it. Today’s entry is Monkey Shoulder, a “blended malt” Scotch whisky weighing in at 86 proof. True story: “monkey shoulder” was an ailment that befell the workers whose job it was to rake and stir the malting barley, to keep it from developing mold. Imagine creating a line of cotton clothing and calling it “Brown Lung Fashionwear.” But I digress.
Here’s the tricky part of the terminology: “malt whiskey” denotes whisky that is made wholly from malted barley. “Blended whisky” is whisky that is made from malted barley and then blended with other grain spirits. This is “blended malt,” i.e. a blend of three single-malt Speyside whiskies. Speysides are the generally lighter, sweeter, unpeated (not smoky) versions of Scotch whisky. Monkey Shoulder originally contained whisky from the Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries; now the content is undisclosed. This bottle cost me $32 on sale, which is a little above my self-imposed limit, but at this price you can definitely still drink it.
What’s it smell like? On the nose, I – “Lemmy, I thought we weren’t going to do this whisky nerd bullshit.” Sorry, my bad. It smells sweet, like honey and banana. There is light fruit and butterscotch, with an underlying scent of oatmeal.
What’s it taste like? On the pal– “Fucking Lemmy!!” Okay, okay. There is a buttery vanilla flavor. It is sweet and spicy, with a notable, lingering cocoa finish. It is slightly astringent, with the typical scratchy feel of a Scotch.
Should you buy it? Don’t let me tell you what to do with your money. I don’t need that kind of pressure.
Will I buy it again? Hell yeah, at the right price. I’m not the biggest Scotch fan, but this one is damn good.